When Tea Kettles Turn Infamous

by Christina Lenkowski

Much like the infamous United State Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, I guess I can’t specifically determine when something is or is not offensive to some people, “but I know it when I see it.”

Spreading like wildfire across the media is a JC Penney ad for a tea kettle that some seem to think looks like Hitler. Because it has an extended arm. Like every other tea kettle in history. Oh, and maybe a handle that could look like the silhouette of an old dude’s combover. Maybe.

I am all for freedom of speech, but making up comparisons that aren’t really there is just silly. Luckily, JC Penney had a sense of humor about the whole thing and tweeted in response to the issue:

It may have actually been a blessing in disguise for the struggling retailer—the tea kettle is now sold out!

So kudos to the company responding quickly and appropriately to such an absurd association, and boo-dos (I’m pretty sure I just made that up, but go with it) to those who felt the need to call out the company for an ad that really did not deserve all the hype it received.

And best thing about the whole ordeal—these comments from Telegraph readers speaking about the situation:

Eldridge: "Is it an SS kettle? SS=stainless steel"
Eccles11: "What are you, an anti-steamite?"

While this didn’t involve the hijacking of a fire department’s Twitter handle by a 5-year-old playing Angry Birds, we appreciate the quick and humorous response and its ability to douse any brushfires before anyone else can fan the flames.

Something Powerful

Tell The Reader More

The headline and subheader tells us what you're offering, and the form header closes the deal. Over here you can explain why your offer is so great it's worth filling out a form for.


  • Bullets are great
  • For spelling out benefits and
  • Turning visitors into leads.

Subscribe to Email Updates

About Chad Biggs

Chad Biggs feeds a lifelong obsession with storytelling by helping clients capture and meaningfully share their stories with the people that matter. As Red Sky’s Chief Content Officer, Chad’s work is driven by a deference to the written word and his innate ability to craft an acute, concise message for clients ranging from healthcare to technology to renewables.

Ready to tell your story?

Read the stories section to learn why organizations like yours select Red Sky to help with communication initiatives ranging from media relations to marketing and content to crisis.

Want to Talk?

Visit our contact page to tell us more about you and your organization or contact our team directly on their bio page.